Do banks offer free financial advice?
Do you have financial questions you need answered? Is your retirement around the corner and you feel you're unprepared.
Perhaps you're selling a business and you're unsure of what to do with the money. Getting financial advice, especially if you feel out of your depth and is there is too much to lose, by making poor financial decisions yourself, just makes sense.
At this point you have a decision to make, do you go to a bank that offers "free" advice or you can work with dedicated financial advisors, who can offer you FCA regulated financial advice?
As Banks continue to downsize, and their branches are closing, we visit these institutions with less frequency. Most people only enter bank branches to conduct unusual transactions or if they need to speak to the manager or a member of staff in person.
Once in the bank, you may see advertisements for free financial advice. But ask yourself the question: Do banks actually employ advisors who give free advice? When have you ever got anything for free from your bank? However friendly Bank employees may be, are they qualified to discuss investment options in the same way as certified financial advisors who are qualified to offer FCA regulated advice.
Why do most banks in Edinburgh describe their branch employees as advisor? This would lead people to believe they're talking to qualified financial advisors, which is simply not the case
Bank employees do of course receive extensive training, they handle significant financial transactions daily; they have to deal with enormous responsibility and have to maintain the trust of their customers.
As a result, when you talk to a bank employee you're usually going to interact with a well educated, conscientious and bright individual. Who may be qualified to describe insurance products, investments, pensions, and mortgages. However, there is a key difference between financial advisors who are FCA regulated and bank branch advisors.
When you look at the salaries that offered to qualified financial advisers compared to bank branch advisors' the difference will become clearer.
An Average Bank Branch advisor will earn £16,500-£25,000 per annum, while a certified financial advisor earns £55,000 per annum on average. Why the difference you might ask? Why are financial advisors who work for banks earning less than half the salary of financial advisors who work in the private sector? The answer, of course, is that they are not in fact certified financial advisers, capable of offering FCA regulated advice.
The major banks in the Edinburgh do offer some level of financial advice, but it isn't free, for example
Premier Banks provides a financial advice service to any customer who has over 100,000 pounds in their bank account and over £100,000 in Investments. These financial advisors don't actually work for the bank; they are mostly employed independently. As you can see, unless you have £100,000 invested with the bank, you will not get access to an IFA. In Fact, the external advisors employed by charge separate fees according to their own pricing schedules,
Other Edinburgh based banks offer financial advice to existing customers who make a minimum £50,000 minimum investment. Once again this advice is not for free and you will have to take part in two meetings for which they will charge you either a minimum of £960 or 2.75%.
Do banks employ financial advisors?
Our research has revealed that most major banks in the UK either offer a customer access to branch advisors or are external financial advisors. From all we could see, none of the major Banks explicitly employed independent financial advisors. So if you're looking for an advisor you can just qualify to make independent recommendations based upon a full range of Investments you'll have to talk to a financial advice firm in Edinburgh.
You can, if you want the source a financial advisor through your local bank branch. In our experience these financial advisers are qualified, but they have a vested interest in selling financial products linked to the banks that support them. Therefore, we believe they are not independent and we advise you to seek FCA regulated advice from independent financial advisors.
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